Review: Amazon Echo (2nd Generation)

Clear voice

With ready-made sound on the voice assistant, only the language barrier stands between us and the automated work tasks.

Amazon Echo
Karakter
Amazon Echo (2nd Generation)
We think
A compact and appealing appearance, clear speech sound and also a stable and good control system compared to other devices. Two can be paired in stereo.
The sound is tame on music, you have to take some detours to get the speaker connected in Norway, and Alexa does not understand Norwegian.
Specifications
  • Type: Smart speaker
  • Management system: Amazon Alexa
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Connection: 3.5mm aux
  • Speaker element: 2.5 ”bass, 1” treble
  • Dimensions: 14.8 x 8.8 x 8.8 cm
  • Colors: black, gray and many more
  • Other: Works in stereo pairs
  • Web: amazon.com
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After drawing an Amazon account with a street address in a supported country (we used U.K.), the initial setup is straightforward and intuitive. If you have a smart product that you do not find with “add device”, then it may still exist as a “skill”. We noticed this, for example, with our robot vacuum cleaner from iRobot, which Alexa installed as a skill.

Control of smart lights (Philips Hue) in the desired room is playfully easy, the robot vacuum cleaner is sent out on a sweep, and the system behaves very stably.

Since we do not have an Amazon Music account, we have not tested this, but every time we want to play music, we get the error message that the service is not connected. If, on the other hand, we ask Alexa to play a given song on Spotify, then the song will come. Mostly. Sometimes the song is not found, even though we know it is on Spotify and Alexa pronounces the name correctly. Tidal is otherwise officially supported by Alexa, but not in Norway.

The sound is perfectly fine, with clear speech. But no pronounced musician, until it becomes too flat and unengaging. Fortunately, the speaker can be connected to better sound systems with Bluetooth or cable. You can alternatively connect two Echo speakers in stereo, the money should then perhaps be spent on a fatter speaker.

Conclusion

Echo is a nice little speaker, with a great finish and good design. It does little of itself and blends in with the interior. Little of it unfortunately also makes it sonic. Clear speech is all well and good, but the music sounds in the flattest layer. But in fact nothing flatter than a couple of competitors with larger physical goals. Ease of use is very good, if you master English and can live with the fact that not all services and products are supported in Norway.

Also in this test

Libratone Zipp Mini 2

Looks like a thermos

Libratone goes against the flow, and the Alexa speaker Libratone Zipp Mini 2 looks like a thermos. It is portable, plays music well, and two can be connected in stereo.

12 hours of battery life makes the speaker very flexible. Clear sound on speech and approved sound on music.
There is a lack of bass, and the speaker falls short when you want to gobble up. As is well known, Alexa does not speak Norwegian.

Harman Kardon Citation 100

Looks Fantastic

This is probably the prettiest speaker we've seen in its class. However, the Harman Kardon Citation 100 fails to take sound advantage of its larger exterior.

The speaker has a beautiful finish in wool, and looks fantastic. Google voice control makes it speak Norwegian, and the sound is very clear and pleasant.
Does not play as big and powerful as the size gives hope for.

Marshall Stanmore II Voice Google Assistant

Concert from the bookshelf

Marshall Stanmore II plays much louder sound than the competition, without compromising the balance. It crushes them, quite simply.

No other smart speakers we have heard deliver this sound pressure. It just gets even heavier because it also sounds balanced and good enough for calm tones.
The sound can be experienced as a bit rough at the edges, and the appearance of the Marshall speakers does not appeal to everyone.

Apple HomePod

Approved from Apple

Apple HomePod has very good sound and is easy to use. But smart steering seems too rigid and solid.

Impressive deep bass combined with clear, airy sound. In addition, the HomeKit system is very stable.
It's not just about adding products to control. As there are currently quite a few of. Does not speak Norwegian

Hama Sirium 1400ABT

Bigger does not mean bigger sound

Hamas' smallest Alexa speaker Sirium 1400ABT is a bit larger than the Amazon Echo, but still fails to give us any greater sound.

Clear enough sound, and the speaker enjoys the functionality of the Alexa system.
Larger cabinets still do not produce louder sound than the smaller competitors. Cannot currently pair in stereo. Alexa does not speak Norwegian.

Google Home

Enormous potential

The Google Home system has enormous potential, but as a speaker this is not the best.

Perhaps the market's most successful voice control and merging of smart products.
Even if the bass is full enough, it murmurs upwards in the voice range, and destroys the sound from both the voice assistant and the newscaster. We miss routine commands in Norway.

Sonos One

A smarter Sonos

Sonos One will one day give us both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa in one and the same smart speaker. But Google is waiting.

Sonos One withstands moisture and sounds good. With upcoming updates, it will be among the most versatile on the market.
Until further notice, it is Alexa who applies, who does not speak Norwegian. There are speakers with heavier bass.

Kygo B9/800

Smart speaker that can swim

Kygo B9/800 is the only smart speaker we know of that you can take with you to the swimming pool.

Withstands water up to a meter depth for 30 minutes. It even floats! Google Home makes the Kygo B9 / 800 an exciting portable speaker.
The sound can be experienced a little strained over time. For desktop use, the USB connector on top is not very nice, with a cable sticking up and hanging down.

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